As the holiday of Purim approaches, the Zionist Organization of America's Brooklyn branch is gearing up to bring Purim cheer to Israel for the eleventh year. The group plans to distribute thousands of mishloach manot packages to IDF soldiers.
Last year the group sent almost 6,000 gift packages to soldiers, and another 500 to children in southern Israel. This year's gift packages for soldiers will include something new: special water backpacks known in Israel as “shlukerim” that help keep water cool in the field while giving soldiers added mobility.
In addition, ZOA will be hosting a free concert for soldiers. The concert is to take place in the Samaria city of Ariel, which was the target of a cultural boycott earlier in the year.
"We come to thank the IDF soldiers because they are guarding the country not only for the country itself, which is in itself a tremendous achievement, but also for Jews all over the world," explained project organizer Rubin Margules, head of the Brooklyn branch of ZOA.
This year, as before, many ZOA members will be delivering the gifts in person. The IDF's Sar-El program plans to provide transport, bringing the volunteers and their gifts to IDF bases.
The volunteers will also meet with political leaders, and will visit Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.